Failing Tonkin Gulf Test on Ukraine

Exclusive: As the Ukraine crisis worsens, Official Washington fumes only about “Russian aggression” — much as a half century ago, the Tonkin Gulf talk was all about “North Vietnamese aggression.” But then and now there were other sides to the story and questions that Congress needed to ask, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Many current members of Congress, especially progressives, may have envisioned how they would have handled the Tonkin Gulf crisis in 1964. In their imaginations, they would have asked probing questions and treated the dubious assertions from the White House with tough skepticism before voting on whether to give President Lyndon Johnson the authority to go to war in Vietnam.

If they had discovered what CIA and Pentagon insiders already knew that the crucial second North Vietnamese “attack” on U.S. destroyers likely never happened and that the U.S. warships were not on some “routine” patrol but rather supporting a covert attack on North Vietnamese territory today’s members of Congress would likely see themselves joining Sens. Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening as the only ones voting no.

President Lyndon Johnson announces "retaliatory" strike against North Vietnam in response to the supposed attacks on U.S. warships in the Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 4, 1964. (Photo credit: LBJ Library)

President Lyndon Johnson announces “retaliatory” strike against North Vietnam in response to the supposed attacks on U.S. warships in the Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 4, 1964. (Photo credit: LBJ Library)

Bravery in hindsight is always easy, but things feel quite different when Official Washington is locked in one of its pro-war “group thinks” when all the “important people” from government to the media to think tanks are pounding their chests and talking tough, as they are now on Russia and Ukraine.

Then, if you ask your probing questions and show your tough skepticism, you will have your patriotism, if not your sanity, questioned. You will be “controversialized,” “marginalized,” “pariahed.” You will be called somebody’s “apologist,” whether it’s Ho Chi Minh or Vladimir Putin.

And nobody wants to go through that because here’s the truth about Official Washington: if you run with the pack if you stay within the herd you’ll be safe. Even if things go terribly wrong even if thousands of American soldiers die along with many, many more foreign civilians you can expect little or no accountability. You will likely keep your job and may well get promoted. But if you stand in the way of the stampede, you’ll be trampled.

After all, remember what happened to Morse and Gruening in their next elections. They both lost. As one Washington insider once told me about the U.S. capital’s culture, “there’s no honor in being right too soon. People just remember that you were out of step and crazy.”

So, the choice often is to do the right thing and be crushed or to run with the pack and be safe. But there are moments when even the most craven member of Congress should look for whatever courage he or she has left and behave like a Morse or a Gruening, especially in a case like the Ukraine crisis which has the potential to spin out of control and into a nuclear confrontation.

Though the last Congress already whipped through belligerent resolutions denouncing “Russian aggression” and urging a military response with only five Democrats and five Republicans dissenting members of the new Congress could at least ascertain the facts that have driven the Ukraine conflict. Before the world lurches into a nuclear showdown, it might make a little sense to know what got us here.

The Nuland Phone Call

For instance, Congress could investigate the role of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in orchestrating the political crisis that led to a violent coup overthrowing Ukraine’s constitutionally elected President Viktor Yanukovych a year ago.

What was the significance of the Nuland-Pyatt phone call in early February 2014 in which Nuland exclaimed “Fuck the EU!” and seemed to be handpicking the leaders of a new government? “Yats is the guy,” she said referring to her favorite, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, with Pyatt musing about how to “midwife this thing”?

Among other questions that Congress could pose would be: What does U.S. intelligence know about the role of neo-Nazi extremists whose “sotin” militias infiltrated the Maidan protests and escalated the violence against police last February? [See’s “NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine.”]

And, what does U.S. intelligence know about the mysterious snipers who brought the crisis to a boil on Feb. 20, 2014, by opening fire on police apparently from positions controlled by the extremist Right Sektor, touching off a violent clash that left scores dead, including police and protesters. [A worthwhile documentary on this mystery is “Maidan Massacre.”]

Congress might also seek to determine what was the U.S. government’s role over the next two days as three European countries Poland, France and Germany negotiated a deal with Yanukovych on Feb. 21 in which the embattled president agreed to Maidan demands for reducing his powers and accepting early elections to vote him out of office.

Instead of accepting this agreement, which might have averted a civil war, neo-Nazi and other Maidan militants attacked undefended government positions on Feb. 22 and forced officials to flee for their lives. Then, instead of standing by the European deal, the U.S. State Department quickly embraced the coup regime as “legitimate.” And, surprise, surprise, Yatsenyuk emerged as the new Prime Minister.

What followed the coup was a Western propaganda barrage to make it appear that the Ukrainian people were fully behind this “regime change” even though many ethnic Russian Ukrainians in the east and south clearly felt disenfranchised by the unconstitutional ouster of their president.

A U.S. congressional inquiry also might ask: Was there any internal U.S. government assessment of the risks involved in allowing Nuland and Pyatt to pursue a “regime change” strategy on Russia’s border? If so, did the assessment take into account the likely Russian reaction to having an ally next door overthrown by anti-Russian extremists with the intent to put Ukraine into NATO and potentially bring NATO armaments to Russia’s frontyard?

Since the entire crisis has been presented to the American people within an anti-Yanukovyh/anti-Moscow propaganda paradigm both by the U.S. mainstream news media and by the U.S. political/academic elites there has been virtually no serious examination of the U.S. complicity. No one in Official Washington dares say anything but “Russian aggression.”

Post-Coup Realities

Beyond the events surrounding the coup a year ago, there were other pivotal moments as this crisis careened out of control. For instance, what does U.S. intelligence know about the public opinion in Crimea prior to the peninsula’s vote for secession from Ukraine and reunification with Russia on March 16?

The State Department portrayed the referendum as a “sham” but more objective observers acknowledge that the vote although hasty reflected a broad consensus inside Crimea to bail out of the failed Ukrainian state and rejoin a somewhat more functional Russia, where pensions are about three times higher and have a better chance of being paid.

Then, there was the massacre of ethnic Russians burned alive in Odessa’s trade union building on May 2, with neo-Nazi militias again on the front lines. Like other topics that put the U.S.-backed coup regime in a bad light, the Odessa massacre quickly moved off the front pages and there has been little follow-up from international agencies that supposedly care about human rights. [See’s “Ukraine’s ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Reality.”]

The next major catastrophe associated with the Ukraine crisis was the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17. Again, the State Department rushed to a judgment blaming the ethnic Russian rebels and Russia for the tragedy that killed all 298 people onboard. However, I’ve been told that some U.S. intelligence analysts had a very different take on who was responsible, finding evidence implicating a rogue element of the Ukrainian government.

However, following the pattern of going silent whenever the Kiev coup regime might look bad, there was a sudden drop-off of interest in the MH-17 case, apparently not wanting to disrupt the usefulness of the earlier anti-Russian propaganda. When a Dutch-led inquiry into the crash issued an interim report last October, there was no indication that the Obama administration had shared its intelligence information. [See’s “The Danger of an MH-17 Cold Case.”]

There also is little interest from Congress about what the MH-17 evidence shows. Even some progressive members are afraid to ask for a briefing from U.S. intelligence analysts, possibly because the answers might force a decision about whether to blow the whistle on a deception that involved Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior Obama administration officials.

This sort of cowardly misfeasance of duty marks the latest step in a long retreat from the days after the Vietnam War when Congress actually conducted some valuable investigations. In the 1970s, there were historic inquiries into Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, led by Sen. Sam Ervin, and into CIA intelligence abuses by Sen. Frank Church.

A Downward Spiral

Since then, congressional investigations have become increasingly timid, such as the Iran-Contra and October Surprise investigations led by Rep. Lee Hamilton in the late 1980s and early 1990s, shying away from evidence of impeachable wrongdoing by President Ronald Reagan. Then, in the 1990s, a Republican-controlled Congress obsessed over trivial matters such as President Bill Clinton’s personal finances and sex life.

Congressional oversight dysfunction reached a new low when President George W. Bush made baseless claims about Iraq’s WMD and Saddam Hussein’s intent to share nuclear, chemical and biological weapons with al-Qaeda. Rather than perform any meaningful due diligence, Congress did little more than rubber stamp Bush’s claims by authorizing the Iraq War.

Years afterwards, there were slow-moving investigations into the WMD intelligence “failure” and into the torture practices that were used to help fabricate evidence for the fake WMD claims. Those investigations, however, were conducted behind closed doors and did little to educate the broader American public. There apparently wasn’t much stomach to call the perpetrators of those abuses before televised hearings.

The only high-profile foreign-affairs hearings that have been held in recent years have been staged by House Republicans on the made-up scandal over an alleged cover-up of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a hot-button issue for the GOP base but essentially a non-story.

Now, the United States is hurtling toward a potential nuclear confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and this congressional ineptness could become an existential threat to the planet. The situation also has disturbing similarities to the Tonkin Gulf situation although arguably much, much more dangerous.

Misleading Americans to War

In 1964, there also was a Democratic president in Lyndon Johnson with Republicans generally to his right demanding a more aggressive military response to fight communism in Vietnam. So, like today with President Barack Obama in the White House and Republicans demanding a tougher line against Russia, there was little reason for Republicans to challenge Johnson when he seized on the Tonkin Gulf incident to justify a ratcheting up of attacks on North Vietnam. Meanwhile, also like today, Democrats weren’t eager to undermine a Democratic president.

The result was a lack of oversight regarding the White House’s public claims that the North Vietnamese launched an unprovoked attack on U.S. warships on Aug. 4, 1964, even though Pentagon and CIA officials realized very quickly that the initial alarmist reports about torpedoes in the water were almost surely false.

Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1964 was a young Defense Department official, recounts in his 2002 book Secrets how the Tonkin Gulf falsehoods took shape, first with the panicked cables from a U.S. Navy captain relaying confused sonar readings and then with that false storyline presented to the American people.

As Ellsberg describes, President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara announced retaliatory airstrikes on Aug. 4, 1964, telling “the American public that the North Vietnamese, for the second time in two days, had attacked U.S. warships on ‘routine patrol in international waters’; that this was clearly a ‘deliberate’ pattern of ‘naked aggression’; that the evidence for the second attack, like the first, was ‘unequivocal’; that the attack had been ‘unprovoked’; and that the United States, by responding in order to deter any repetition, intended no wider war.”

Ellsberg wrote: “By midnight on the fourth, or within a day or two, I knew that each one of those assurances was false.” Yet, the White House made no effort to clarify the false or misleading statements. The falsehoods were left standing for several years while Johnson sharply escalated the war by dispatching a half million soldiers to Vietnam.

In August 1964, the Johnson administration also misled Congress about the facts of the Tonkin Gulf incident. Though not challenging that official story, some key members worried about the broad language in the Tonkin Gulf resolution authorizing the President “to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression including the use of armed force.”

As Ellsberg noted, Sen. Gaylord Nelson tried to attach an amendment seeking to limit U.S. involvement to military assistance not a direct combat role but that was set aside because of Johnson’s concern that it “would weaken the image of unified national support for the president’s recent actions.”

Ellsberg wrote, “Several senators, including George McGovern, Frank Church, Albert Gore [Sr.], and the Republican John Sherman Cooper, had expressed the same concern as Nelson” but were assured that Johnson had no intention of expanding the war by introducing ground combat forces.

In other words, members of Congress failed to check out the facts and passed the fateful Tonkin Gulf resolution on Aug. 7, 1964. It should be noted, too, that the mainstream U.S. media of 1964 wasn’t asking many probing questions either.

Looking back at that history, it’s easy for today’s members of Congress to think how differently they would have handled that rush to judgment, how they would have demanded to know the details of what the CIA and the Pentagon knew, how they wouldn’t let themselves be duped by White House deceptions.

However, a half century later, the U.S. political/media process is back to the Tonkin Gulf moment, accepting propaganda themes as fact and showing no skepticism about the official line. Except today, Official Washington’s war fever is not over a remote corner of Southeast Asia but over a country on the border of nuclear-armed Russia.

[For more on this topic, see’s “President Gollum’s ‘Precious’ Secrets”; “NYT Whites Out Ukraine’s Brownshirts”; and “Nuclear War and Clashing Ukraine Narratives.”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

26 comments for “Failing Tonkin Gulf Test on Ukraine

  1. Aaron
    February 24, 2015 at 13:13

    Robert, once again, great article. However, you continue to hurt your credibility by dismissing reals issues due to, what I can only imagine is, partisan tendencies. Why include the following paragraphs in your article – especially an article calling for Congress to hold the Administration more accountable.

    “Then, in the 1990s, a Republican-controlled Congress obsessed over trivial matters such as President Bill Clinton’s personal finances and sex life.”

    “The only high-profile foreign-affairs hearings that have been held in recent years have been staged by House Republicans on the made-up scandal over an alleged cover-up of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a hot-button issue for the GOP base but essentially a non-story.”

    Bill Clinton’s clear perjury, and the change-by-the-second story from the White House after Benghazi are serious issues. Leaving these weak dismissive paragraphs out of this article would have made it that much more valuable. I could have circulated it via my social networks and other, however, half the audience would ignore it for the reasons stated.

  2. hp
    February 24, 2015 at 12:25

    LBJ’s official letterhead should have been a dog’s hind leg.

    The ripened fruits of LBJ’s (not so) Great society can be witnessed in every metropolis, city, town and village across the looted plain.

    The Bastardization of America.

  3. Bill Jones
    February 24, 2015 at 08:58

    The combination of a supine, ignorant population and corrupted, co-opted media makes it easy to promote wars based on lies.
    It’s not an accident that government schools are as piss-poor as they are despite the tsunami of money they spend.

  4. Ann_Falkon
    February 24, 2015 at 01:54

    I am sorry if I am far from the article with my comment but let me leave a link here.

    The video is in Russian – sorry for this.

    First you can see mines left in Debaltsevo by Ukrainan troops.
    At 1:50 you can see a former base of the Ukrainian troops.
    At 2:50 a soldier demostrates a piece of iron from the NATO armour vest. He takes Kalashnikov’s gun and shoots. Then he shows the hole. (at 3:10)
    At 3:20 you can see the evidence of Europian help to Ukrain. A loaf of bread baked in Poland is demonstrated.

    At 3:51 an instruction is shown. Mind it!!! This is the instruction for those who does not speak any English but have to commucate with their bosses. English army commands were translated into Ukrainian – the soldiers had to understand what they had to do.

    Then you can see rich trophies.
    At 4:43 you can see a man aged 63. He has been for 3 moths at war. His four sons are at the war too. He is dreaming to see his grandchildren soon.

  5. Piotr Berman
    February 23, 2015 at 07:45

    Clearly, “opolchenie” (translated as “militia”, but the term suggest people who responded to universal mobilization) gets arms, training and quite a few of volunteers from somewhere, and given geographical realities, the chances that it is from Russia and quite high. The righteous indignation would be a bit more convincing if USA and NATO upheld “the principle of territorial integrity” a bit more often. Only a few champion territorial integrity of Ireland, and among more fresh example, NATO is either oblivious or hostile to territorial integrity of Serbia, Syria, Cyprus and Azerbaijan, one could perhaps add Ethiopia. Then there is a mind-boggling case of Moldova (I cannot figure it out, and judging from the flegmatic attitude of NATO, few people can).

    Then, is it OK to provide supplies, training, money and volunteers to a rebel movement? Like one in Syria? And mind you, long before the emergence of ISIS, “the democratic Syrian opposition” was a truly terrifying bunch of murderers (of civilians), bigots, brigands etc. Now the most worthy of the bunch will be officially trained and equipped in Turkey, Qatar and Emirates, three strongholds of democracy (Turkey is still formally democratic, but so is Russia, and I would say that Putin pays more attention to democratic forms than Erdogan).

  6. Kevin
    February 23, 2015 at 05:45

    bizarre but unsurprising to see ukranians blame moscow for the sniper attack

    also strage that they are claiming russian heavy tanks came across the border when last week the photos were shown as fakes and even Francoise Hollande: “We cannot confirm that Russian tanks had entered Ukraine”

    Britain and EU ‘sleepwalked’ into Ukraine crisis, says report

  7. Erik
    February 22, 2015 at 07:17

    Those US politicians who are not willful servants of the those who own the mass media and finance campaign funds are nonetheless fearful of mass media condemnation and inadequate campaign funding. That is ultimately due to control of mass media and election funding by economic concentrations. Individuals also decide what divergence from the oligarchy party line is tenable to maintain social and business relationships, and as the party propaganda line hardens, they abandon all reason for the safety of conformity. This too is due entirely to the control of the basic tools of democracy by money.

  8. February 22, 2015 at 05:49

    A series of reports compiled by the Information Group on Crimes against the Person (IGCP) published under the title: Consolidated Monitoring for 22. February, 2014 – 4. April, 2014 gives a rather different slant on events that took place in and around Maidan Square last spring, as well as around the rest of Ukraine.

    Violent crimes including murder, robbery, extortion and beatings by gangs of fascists and other assorted hooligans were daily occurrences. They are logged without hysteria or sensationalism.

    What is particularly disturbing is how the protests in Maidan Square, presented by the Western mainstream media as virtual love-ins, were replaced by violent confrontations between various competing factions once night fell, something that didn’t reach our TV screens or the front pages of our newspapers.

    Though very long at over 70 pages the document shows Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt, Catherine Ashton, John Kerry and John McCain have a lot to answer for.

    The report can be read here:

  9. February 22, 2015 at 01:24

    While I think that this whole tragedy was instigated by the U.S., I believe that beginning in August 2014, direct Russian involvement began in the form of advisors, ammunition, weapons, and some combat personnel. This is just as bad for Ukraine as U.S. meddling, though I suppose inevitable given the stakes as seen by Russia.

    In other words, a year ago I would have said that there was no basis for American involvement in Ukraine. At present, there might be. This may be exactly what the war party wants. But the Russians are fools to give them that.

    • Tyler Dan
      February 22, 2015 at 06:11

      May I remind you of the Cuba crisis in 1962? It’s almost the same now (just the opponents changed their places). Installing a NATO member in its frontyard is as inacceptable to Russia as nukes were back then in USs.
      Regarding the involvements: Try for instance to find documentation about “OTPOR”, a (mainly) US-financed training institution for installing all the “colored revolutions” lately (so most certainly also the UA revolution)* . You may start here:!#Revelation_of_U.S._involvement
      But do not trust me or believe in Wikipedia, research for yourself please.

      * I saw some videos where OTPOR themselves were proud to have supported these movements, to have been the substantial part in starting them off and making them successful.

      • February 22, 2015 at 13:27

        Tyler Dan says, “May I remind you of the Cuba crisis in 1962?”

        I would think that the recklessness of the U.S. in the missile crisis would have served as a lesson to Russia now, that overreaction to perceived national interests can be self-destructive. Not only did it almost blow up the world, it created a situation in Cuba that greatly diminished U.S. power, beginning the process of splitting the U.S. from Europe and Latin America.

        The post you are responding to begins, “While I think that this whole tragedy was instigated by the U.S….” which is entirely consistent with the point you make about U.S. involvement in other coups. In fact, as I posted to Alexey, I did a 20,000 word analysis of the coup in Honduras of 2009 which concluded that there was U.S. involvement at the highest levels. I know how the system works.

        Therefore, I do not think you are responding to the post I wrote, but to which side you imagine I am on.

        • Joe
          February 23, 2015 at 07:04

          Actually the Cuba missile crisis was also provoked by US aggression, the installation of US nuclear missiles in Turkey. From Cuba’s perspective it was provoked by the US invasion attempt, motivated purely by US aggression against socialist economies. It was not an aggression by the USSR.

          It is clear that control of US elections and mass media by economic concentrations is the underlying cause of these consistent US aggressions since WWII. Always the US has substituted dictatorships for democracies when it saw social democracy gaining ground, as in Iran, and a dozen countries in Latin America. This does not advance democracy, it is always an attack on democracy on behalf of oligarchy.

          The present economic attacks on foreign powers show that economic force is a primary weapon of modern warfare. Those who use that weapon to control US elections and mass media make war upon these United States, the definition of treason in our Constitution. They have destroyed democracy in the US, because we did not have constitutional restricting funding of elections and mass media to registered and limited individual contributions. The oligarchy should be kept in Guantanamo as the traitors they are, the real threat to democracy.

        • Joe
          February 23, 2015 at 07:11

          I would ad that the US has been split from Latin America by its secret wars against democracy there, funding the gangsters of oligarchy in their efforts to substitute dictatorships for socialist democracies. These wars are not hard to follow (ten or more years after the fact) in published accounts, but of course are never mentioned in the mass media. They are numerous, well known to the people of Latin America, and are an utter disgrace of the United States. Our leaders have not represented the people of the United States, they have represented greed and its hypocritical rationales and militant opposition to democracy. They are traitors wrapped in the flag.

        • Joe
          February 23, 2015 at 07:24

          I should also add that the US has done absolutely nothing the warrant anything other than a split from Latin America. It has contributed essentially nothing to the health and welfare and development of the developing nations, less than one meal per year per capita, just enough to trick the careless into thinking that the US did something. With our endless secret wars against progress there, why on Earth would they not split with the US? Why would anyone suppose that they would see any value in an alliance?

  10. February 22, 2015 at 01:24

    While I think that this whole tragedy was instigated by the U.S., I believe that beginning in August 2014, direct Russian involvement began in the form of advisors, ammunition, weapons, and some combat personnel. This is just as bad for Ukraine as U.S. meddling, though I suppose inevitable given the stakes as seen by Russia.

    In other words, a year ago I would have said that there was no basis for American involvement in Ukraine. At present, there might be. This may be exactly what the war party wants. But the Russians are fools to give them that.

    • Alexey
      February 22, 2015 at 05:20

      , direct Russian involvement began in the form of advisors, ammunition, weapons, and some combat personnel
      confirm please! u have any proof, or u is a next liar?

      • February 22, 2015 at 13:05

        Alexey say, “confirm please! u have any proof, or u is a next liar?”

        Something stated as the author’s belief should never be confronted with accusations of lying. To do so simply conveys the impression that the accuser is not conversing in good faith.

        I have read widely. I don’t just read The New York Times, the Kyiv Post, and other western sources. I also read Fortruss, Cassad, and other rebel sources. And military analysis sites, such as Jane’s and Small Wars Journal. Even pro-rebel sites give indications that Russians are helping.

        Nothing that will be accepted as proof by those who are determined to deny, but enough to convince any even-handed analysis that there is Russian assistance. As one source I read pointed out, the best evidence of Russian involvement is the effectiveness of the rebel forces. If the rebels were just Ukrainians, then they should be just as inept as the Kiev forces. But they have showed extraordinary skill, foresight, and initiative–not to mention excellent weaponry.

        I analyzed the Honduran coup against President Manuel Zelaya, and concluded that there was direct U.S. involvement at the highest levels. It can be seen as a five part series accessible from the last part.

        When you can match that quality of analysis, you’ll have earned the right to call me to task for expressing an opinion about Russian involvement. But of course to do that you’ll have to be a little bit more brave than a poster who won’t even link to his own writing.

        • Nicholas Jones
          February 23, 2015 at 06:47

          Charles you must understand there are millions of people in Ukraine who through their blood line are Russians, the east is mostly Russian and many factory’s that have supported the Ukrainian economy ( although it’s quite a bad economy) , their products being sold mostly in Russia . So of course they are pro Russian , they are good neighbours and they trust in Russia , as we say Trust the Devil you know !! . They will never support the west and this Unrepresenting new illegal government , who are fascists , who have committed war crimes , genocide against its own citizens !! Those that give years of hard work to the country , those in the east know the EU dream is a sham and will only bring problems as it has , so they refuse Kiev and want yo be an independant state or republic , why not makes sense in a country that of very mixed ethenticity . So my point is yes there will be many Russian soldiers in East Ukraine protecting their brothers , sisters , family , friends and also rebelling as what they see as western aggression . Russians are some of the most patriotic and most educated people on this planet , they will not stand anymore for what America is trying to do and good luck to them . It’s about time somebody gave the USA a bloody nose and educated the rest if the world as to what’s going on . Russia has no history of being an aggressor unlike American , of course some small blemishes , but even the truth behind them distorted by the west to demonise Russia . So yes Russia has involvement in this situation , because it’s on their doorstep with what they considered a good allie before . The only reason for the EU and America to have any involvement in Ukraine is to make problems with Russia , it’s not for humanity or to help the Ukrainians that’s for sure , it purely about power and economics . USA is really stirring a hornets nest and it’s making Russia stronger , and other country’s are joining , it’s going to bite America in the arse and most probably create a world wide nuclear conflict , those in power don’t care , they have their secret bunkers and underground city’s . It’s up to normal people to recognise what’s going on and stop the American government interfering with the rest of the world

        • Brendan
          February 23, 2015 at 11:23

          Nobody denies that there are ‘Russians’ fighting in Ukraine, just that they are not regular Russian troops. Last August, the Donetsk leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko said that three to four thousand Russian citizens were fighting there. He said that some of those were military men but they were there on leave and in a personal capacity.

          The effectiveness of the separatists is partly due to the training they got from Russian volunteers (the Russian military is generally accepted to be much superior to the Ukrainian army).

          It’s also because the separatists are far more motivated than the Ukrainian soldiers. The separatists all volunteered to fight against what they see as a threat to their Russian identity. Many Ukrainian soldiers, on the other hand, don’t see the point of bombing their fellow Ukrainians and they don’t like being used to fight wars for whatever extremist government happens to be in power.

          The Nato pictures in that Jane’s article show nothing that can be identified as Russian. We’re just expected to imagine that they show a Russian convoy. It’s like all the other allegations of a Russian invasion that don’t contain any real evidence.

          It’s not just Russia and its friends that are denying that Moscow is sending troops and armoury into East Ukraine.

          Last week President Hollande of France (a member of NATO and also of the EU which is currently imposing sanctions on Russia) was asked at a press conference in Paris if he knew if Russian tanks had crossed the Ukrainian border:
          “I have no confirmation at this stage that there are now Russian tanks in Ukraine. That doesn’t mean that they are not there but you are asking me the question if I have been informed about that. The answer is no.”

          The Chief of Staff of the Ukrainian army, Viktor Muzhenko said last month:
          “We have some evidence about individual members of the Russian Armed Forces and citizens of the Russian Federation being a part of the illegal armed groups in combat activities. Currently, we are not engaged in combat operations against the units of the regular Russian army.”

    • Alex
      February 22, 2015 at 05:24

      sorry 4 double post

    • John
      February 22, 2015 at 07:10

      The fact that we have forced Russia to intervene in self-defense of its border, however indirectly, does not justify escalation by the provocateur. It does not make the bully boy the victim. Putting the US in the same position, with a superpower engaged militarily on all its borders, he US would not tolerate the aggression and would be taking far more direct defensive action than Russia.

    • February 24, 2015 at 17:50

      Really?? <>

      Like that is an act of war, when there were treaties in place which allowed the protection of Crimea. I can’t think of many countries in which the US does not have such involvement. The US has military in places thousands of miles from its borders, “involved” in unseating governments resistant to US dominance. Russia’s response to the threat of losing their only warm water port was predictable and reasonable to any competent person. I can only assume it was intentional provocation. It is so reminiscent of FDR’s intentional provoking of Japan into Pearl Harbor.

    • Bob
      February 24, 2015 at 22:00

      Charles, those are ethnic Russians being killed in eastern Ukraine – what do you expect them to do?

  11. Bob Van Noy
    February 21, 2015 at 23:10

    Thank you so much Robert Parry. I just finished watching “JFK, A President Betrayed” and came away thinking that if we could have been privy to President Kennedy’s discussion with Ambassador Galbraith, we would have made far better decisions about Vietnam. A false narrative is extremely dangerous and often trumps better judgment. We must keep this true and counter-narrative alive.

  12. Zachary Smith
    February 21, 2015 at 21:10

    Failing Tonkin Gulf Test on Ukraine

    I’ve got a ‘gut’ feeling that something like the Gulf of Tonkin was scheduled for the Black Sea. Not a speck of evidence, mind you, but a nagging feeling all the same.

    Snatching the Sevastopol naval base from Russia almost had to be high on the NATO priority list. It’s true that Viktor Yanukovych signed a lease extension until 2042, but that could easily be disputed when he was run out of office by the NATO/Nazi coup. (and has been!) At the very least, NATO could claim that Ukraine needed naval protection from the lawless Russians, and started supplying Ukraine with the latest and greatest Navy equipment.

    IMO Russia got a break with the Crimea annexation when the Ukraine Nazis got carried away. The Western Corporate Media hardly covered this story at all, and except for this being the first anniversary of the event, I’d have never learned of it either.

    The people living in Crimea had been quite “blah” about the whole matter until people they knew were terrorized (and tortured/murdered) by the Nazi goons. After that the vote to join Russia was a breeze.

    Despite having nailed down Crimea, Russia seems to still be concerned about NATO sneaking into the Black Sea. Why else would the Black Sea Fleet be getting 80 new ships?

    And some of those ships are state-of-the-art submarines.

    Despite what the link says, I don’t believe they’re going to the Black Sea to deter NATO surface vessels. Russia has plenty of shore-based missiles and aircraft to do that job. No, I believe the Russians either expect NATO submarines to take up station in the Black Sea — or know they’re already there. Modern subs can be loaded with missiles of all types – long-range cruise and ballistic types with nuclear tips. Still an uninformed opinion, but I expect those super-subs have the job of sinking the Western submarines. How good are modern diesel subs?

    Sweden Has A Sub That’s So Deadly The US Navy Hired It To Play Bad Guy

    Read how that little sub ran rings around the US Navy during the rental period, then reflect that the new Russian ‘black hole’ submarines are supposed to be better.

    Probably the Imperial West will have to be satisfied with what they can squeeze out of mainland Ukraine.

  13. Peter Dyer
    February 21, 2015 at 18:10

    Thank you, from New Zealand, for continuing to swim upstream against the flood of lazy, reckless irresponsible “journalism” re Ukraine and Russia . Most of the American perspective on this issue that makes it here gives me a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even in NZ, which resisted the call to war in Iraq in 2003, it goes mostly unchallenged. Your increasingly rare style of work continues to combine insightful, researched contemporary analysis with indispensable historical background.

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